Construction will typically occur during the day. The everyday life of Chapel Hill citizens should remain the same, and Hurston said the bus routes will operate as normal.
“(Avoiding disruption takes) lots and lots of logistical planning,” said Ben Huffman, vice president and account manager at Skanska USA Building Inc. “We’ve got a whole series of logistical plans that we did with the work, so that we minimize the impact of the hospital. That’s our number one goal, is to not disrupt operations at the hospital.”
Rarely will the noise and other activities that take place at a construction site go into the evening hours, but Hurston said it is dependent on several factors. Among these factors is the initial work that is done on the project, such as the utility site-work, which takes place underground.
“That’s what’s going to take place, is actually starting now and will take place for pretty much the next year.” said Hurston.
The surgical tower itself is an expensive endeavor for the UNC Health Care system.
“To meet code requirements, it adds to the cost,” Hurston said. "So our total project budget is $290 million. That includes design, equipment, furniture, a bunch of incidental costs, as well as construction.”
Included in the building’s design are the efforts to remain sustainable.
"We did take steps to reduce power consumption,” McCabe said. “All lights are (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified); we have a complete energy model of the building to make sure that the air-conditioning systems are super efficient, so we’re not wasting energy.”
Energy conservation is important for the surgical tower due to its size. It will have seven levels and about 330,000 square feet of space, Hurston said.
“The primary purpose of it is to replace 24 of our operating rooms," Hurston said. "Many of the operating rooms this facility will replace were designed for the most part in the 1940s and constructed and opened in the 50s. So these are replacement operating rooms, not additional ones.”
The increase in room size will allow for newer and more advanced technology in the hospital, and ultimately, better care for patients.
Once construction is complete, the current surgical hospital will not remain in operation. A decision has not yet been made as to what will be done with the building.
“There are options that we’re considering,” Hurston said. “One would be to consolidate several of our procedure areas, and these are areas where cases or services are performed as a procedure, not as a surgery.”